Four killed in Cyprus as the “most destructive” forest fires raging | Euronews
Hundreds of firefighters and several firefighting aircraft were deployed in the fire on the second day in the Troodos Mountains.
A fire broke out in Cyprus for the second day in a row. The fire destroyed a large area of ??forest. An official said it was the worst fire ever recorded. Four people were found dead.
Driven by strong winds, the fire affected at least 10 communities within an area of ??50 square kilometers (19 square miles) and destroyed several houses in the foothills of the Troodos Mountains, pine forests, and dense bushes.
The victims are believed to be Egyptian nationals and agricultural workers. They were found dead near Odu, a mountainous community north of the city of Limassol and Larnaca.
“All signs indicate that these are four people who have disappeared since yesterday,” Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said on Sunday.
“We are experiencing the most devastating fire since the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus, whether it is material damage or loss of life,” Nouris said.
Nouris said that firefighting aircraft and ground crews are focusing their work on the two frontiers of large-scale fires between the villages of Odou and Vavatsinia. He said the authorities were “cautiously optimistic” that they would make progress in repelling the flames, but expected that the strong momentum later in the day might hinder efforts.
He said that 36 people evacuated from their homes have been sent to hotels in the capital Nicosia and are providing food and water to residents of Melini Village.
According to the national radio station RIK, hundreds of firefighters and 11 firefighting aircraft have been working hard to put out the fire.
The European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, said that firefighting aircraft had taken off from Greece to extinguish the fire. According to reports, Italy and Israel are also deploying air firefighters to help Cyprus.
The European Commission said in a statement that the European Union’s emergency Copernicus satellite has also been activated to provide damage assessment maps of affected areas.
“This is the worst forest fire in Cyprus’ history,” Charalambos Alexandrou, director of the Forestry Department, told Omega TV in Cyprus.
Efforts are being made to prevent the fire from crossing the mountains and to stop it before reaching Machalas, a pine forest land and one of the highest peaks in Cyprus.
The fire broke out around noon on Saturday, and the cause of the fire is unclear. Cyprus experiences high temperatures and droughts in the summer, with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in recent days.
The police said they were interrogating a 67-year-old man in connection with the fire.